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How to design a travel-inspired room

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Olivia Lowry
How to design a travel-inspired room

Counting down the days to your summer holiday is a pretty great feeling, and we’re pretty stoked the getaway season is back. Whether you’re a die-hard beach holiday regular or you’re ticking off a list of cultural city breaks, there’s tonnes of inspiration to get stuck into whilst on the move.  

Travel-inspired interiors are taking off in a big way, and we’re here for it. Taking decor ideas from your favourite destinations is one of the best ways to keep the holiday feeling going, even after your bags have been unpacked and tans have faded.

Why is travel great for interior design inspiration?

In short, it’s all about memories. Bringing elements of our travels into the way we decorate helps elevate a space in a way that’s personal to you. For years, interior designers and creatives have taken inspiration from countries far and wide and brought elements of them together (bohemian decor is a great example of this). Travelling is done best when we make time to take in other cultures’ art, design and way of life. Keep this in mind when designing your own space, and you’ll end up with a much richer and more interesting interior.  

Now we’ve covered the why, here’s everything you need to know about designing your own travel-inspired room.

Choose a travel theme for your space

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or still have a bucket list to work your way through, everyone’s got a good idea of their favourite destination. The first and most important step to creating a travel-inspired space is to nail down what it is about that place that you like. If Mediterranean breaks are your thing, perhaps you’re a big fan of a Spanish coastal villa look. Maybe you’re into your city breaks, making industrial loft-style spaces your main inspiration. 

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the destination you want to base your design on, it’s time to research. Have a look at your own holiday pictures and research decor styles on Pinterest and Instagram. If mood boards are your thing, get visualising and start to pull together the foundations for what your travel-inspired room could look like.

Curate a souvenir collection

At one point, souvenirs just meant bringing back a slightly garish fridge magnet to add to the collection. On your next break, consider looking for souvenirs that could double up as art pieces (tap here for our guide on shopping for home decor abroad).

Image: The Fabled Thread, Pinterest

Bring back collected postcards and photographs to display as part of gallery walls, or use oversized frames to make them into their own feature. Markets are great places to look for ceramics and sculptural pieces that you can bring back home and use to style shelves and sideboards. 

Pick the right colour palette

As you’re building out mood boards and taking photos of everything you’re inspired by, you’ll pretty quickly notice colour themes. To really pull together the feel of your favourite destination, make sure you’re using colours you’d naturally find there. 

Most times this comes from the natural landscape, traditional interiors and cultural influences. Anchor down the space by picking out a palette of 4-6 key colours, and use this as your guide when bringing anything new into the room.

Recreate the destination with furniture

Travel’s all about meeting new people, sharing experiences and learning something new. Obviously, big items like sofas aren’t quite suitcase friendly, so there’s no expectation to start trying to bring back key pieces from your beach break. Instead, focus on picking pieces that help bring you closer to that colour palette. 

Choose styles that go with the overall feel or atmosphere of your favourite holiday destination. This could look like a super relaxed, loose-cushioned sofa for a coastal boho look, or a straight-edged boxy armchair for an industrial city feel.

Use fabrics from your favourite places

In our latest holiday home decor shopping guide we spoke about Morocco’s infamous Berber rugs - handmade and loved for their thick pile and unique patterns. Textiles are something that every destination has its own versions of, from towels to throws, cushion covers to coasters. Using fabrics from your favourite place is one of the easiest ways to bring a slice of that destination into your interior. 

Plus, seeking out new fabrics to decorate with is a great way to get clued up on the culture of a country. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about the significance of traditional patterns, textures and colours whilst travelling.

Find travel-inspired reads

Half the fun of holidaying is weeks spent researching the place you’re planning to go, and making a list of everything you want to see. With tonnes of ideas online, sometimes it’s made more fun with books instead. 

To get that travel-inspired feel at home, think about curating your own collection of travel-focused magazines and hardbacks. Keep them all in the same place on living room shelves, or use books with stand-out covers as coffee table pieces - ideal for inspiring conversations about your next bucket-list destination.

Find and showcase international art

A big part of going on holiday is experiencing the culture, even if it is a pretty simple beach break. Art styles change dramatically based on whereabouts you travel, so it’s a good idea to take notice of this if you want to bring that holiday feeling back home. 

Image: Glassette, Pinterest

Get inspired by visiting art shows and galleries to discover traditional and contemporary pieces, or keep things simple with landscape photos of your favourite holiday spots. Just as great holidays are worth investing in, so is great artwork.

Get clever with the ambience

Picture this - you’re at a beach club at sunset, where festoon bulbs light up the terrace. Or, maybe you’re exploring city streets at night, surrounded by vibrant neon signs. Lighting plays a big part in how the atmosphere feels in a destination, and choosing it carefully will help you recreate the travel-inspired look you’re thinking of. 

Experiment with multiple ways of lighting your space - from table lamps, to wall lights, to making the most of natural light. Combine this with carefully styled travel-inspired decor to enjoy the same holiday feeling at home - no plane ticket needed.

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